'Don't count me out as yet,' — Gayle

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Doha, Qatar — Despite being ranked third in the world, Jamaica's Tajay Gayle got the scare of his life by qualifying for the men's long jump final by snatching the 12th and final spot.

The 23-year-old Gayle, who was third in the International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League final, was clearly below his best registering jumps of 7.81m on his first attempt, a foul on his second in what would have been a massive jump, then rounded out his third and final jump with 7.89m.

He was seventh in the group and 12th overall and just managed to advance to the final he was tipped quietly to secure a possible medal.

“Honestly, I am not sure what went wrong,” said Gayle, with a bewildered look on his face.

“I have to go back to my coach and see his point of view on this. We have been practising some different techniques like flight, technical, and landing, so maybe I have been overthinking that part too much and forget about the run-up,” Gayle explained.
“As you can see I made some simple mistakes in the run-up, so we will just see what happens tomorrow,” he added.
It was Gayle's worst performance of the year, as only once in his last 12 competitions he has failed to jump over eight metres. He achieved his personal best of 8.32m on July 20.

His event was led by American Jeff Henderson with 8.12m ahead of South Africa's Rushwahl Samaai with a leap of 8.01. Eusebio Caceras of Spain was third, also with 8.01m. It took gold medal favourite Juan Miguel Echevarrio of Cuba just one jump to qualify for the final and it was a massive 8.40m.

The long jump final will be on today at 12.40 pm (Jamaica time) and Gayle will be hoping to get it right.

“Definitely, I am going to work it out, tomorrow is the day, nothing matters really. If I pull, I pull, not wishing to pull up anyways,” said Gayle, with a steely look in his eyes.

“I am confident everything will be fixed by tomorrow. It was very, very close, but I am in the finals, so don't count me out as yet.”

— Howard Walker